LEONARDTOWN, MD (October 6, 2020) – The St. Mary’s County Equity Task Force, in partnership with St. Mary’s County Library and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, announces the Reading for St. Mary’s Heroes initiative. Reading for St. Mary’s Heroes honors the service of frontline and essential workers of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health care providers, public health professionals, law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighters, public works, teachers, grocery store workers, and others.

Reading for St. Mary’s Heroes pairs children (prekindergarten – 8th grade) of these frontline and essential workers with high school or college student readers for regular reading sessions held virtually via Zoom. Books selected for the initiative are developmentally appropriate for the child’s age and will touch on topics related to Equity. Learn more or sign up to participate in this free program at: Reading for St. Mary’s Heros Website

“Families of frontline and essential workers of the COVID-19 pandemic have faced unique stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic; their loved ones have been pulled away for extended periods of time doing high-risk work for our community,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Supporting the children in these families is one way to recognize their sacrifice. This initiative also spreads awareness of the concept of Equity – the idea that every person has the opportunity to be their best self.”

“Reading for St. Mary’s Heroes advances literacy skills and reinforces the power and pleasure of reading and being read to.  The initiative will provide opportunities for our high school students to earn community service credit while acting as role models for service to our younger learners,” said Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools.

“This is an ideal opportunity for young people in our community to become positive role models and mentors for their younger peers,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “I would encourage our high school and college students to participate.” 

“Librarians chose the reading list carefully to promote many visions of Equity,” said St. Mary’s County Library Director Michael Blackwell. “The children who read and their reading mentors will emerge from this dark time with a sense of hope and greater self-confidence to pursue their special dreams.” 

On June 29, 2020, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, and the St. Mary’s County Health Department signed a Joint Resolution to Advance Equity locally in regards to public safety, education, and health. Learn more at www.smchd.org/equity.

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